No matter how cordial, divorce is fraught with negotiation and stress. If a husband and wife cannot reach an amicable property settlement, the courts determine property and debt distribution.

Nine states split marital property 50-50 during a divorce. Missouri is an equitable distribution state and not a 50-50 state.

What Is The Difference In Distribution?

Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin are 50-50 states. These nine states are also referred to as “community property” states.

Community Property 

In a community property state, the classification of property is either jointly owned or separately owned. Jointly-owned property generally refers to all property acquired by either or both spouses during the marriage.

Separately-owned property is property acquired by each spouse before the marriage, or gifts and inheritance received individually. Every state has exceptions to what can be considered joint or separately-owned property.

Distribution is a 50-50 split of all property acquired during the marriage.

Equitable Distribution

In the remaining 41 states, including Missouri, the courts divide property equitably (fairly) but not necessarily equally. Equitable distribution considers both spouses’ assets, debts, earning potential, age, and even spending habits. 

Property division doesn’t necessarily mean a physical division. The court may award each spouse a percentage of the total value of the property.

Both the husband and wife fill out documents declaring real and personal property and debts. That property is broken down into either marital property or non-marital property. 

Marital property is anything acquired during the marriage, regardless of who paid for it. Non-marital property is anything owned by a spouse before the marriage. It can also include inherited and gifted property.

Know The Law Beforehand

Before filing for divorce, it’s important to understand your state’s laws regarding property division. Knowing how and what documents to file is essential for being properly represented in court.

At Brydon, Swearengen & England P.C., our attorneys have the experience you need to vigorously represent you in contested divorce trials involving complex property issues. Don’t file for divorce blindly. 

Let our divorce attorneys thoroughly investigate and prepare you for trial to ensure the best possible outcome. Contact us today at (573) 635-7166.